Some Children See Him

How do we picture Christmas?

The holiday season is filled with teachable moments. As you prepare for the children’s Christmas pageant and approve various images for advertisements and to placed on the worship screen, have you exercised care to represent the diversity of the world that Emmanuel entered into? We might have a black wiseman in our nativity set, or at Easter, make mention of Simon of Cyrene’s race, but is this mere tokenism? What about wrestling with the exclusivity of our approach to the holiday season?

 

If the people inside your church building look different from their neighbors, the holiday season is a critical time to represent yourself as a church seeking to reconnect with its context. This requires brainstorming and blunt honesty with your leadership about the problem. 

 

The following carol written by Alfred Burt in 1951. As a WASP child, growing up in a white suburb, Tennessee Ernie Ford’s recording of this made an impression on me. It was for me a teachable moment:

 

Some children see Him lily white,

The baby Jesus born this night.

Some children see Him lily white,

With tresses soft and fair.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown,

The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown,

With dark and heavy hair.

 

Some children see Him almond-eyed,

This Savior whom we kneel beside.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,

With skin of yellow hue.

Some children see Him dark as they,

Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.

Some children see him dark as they,

And, ah! they love Him, too!

 

The children in each different place

Will see the baby Jesus' face

Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,

And filled with holy light.

O lay aside each earthly thing

And with thy heart as offering,

Come worship now the infant King.

'Tis love that's born tonight.

additional author: 
Alfred Burt, Freedom Theater - Philadelphia